×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV Review: ‘A Deadly Adoption’

With:
Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, Jessica Lowndes, Alyvia Alyn Lind, Jake Weary, Bryan Safi

So with apologies to all concerned, what on Earth was the point of that? Perhaps if Will Ferrell had successfully premiered “A Deadly Adoption” as a completely stealth project, it would have been surprising to see him and Kristen Wiig turn up in what feels like a straight-forward Lifetime movie. As is, the producers have essentially engaged in a college-type exercise, seeing if they can replicate the predictable touches that characterize this kind of movie, for an audience that doesn’t have much sense of humor, usually, about its “stories.” The result? A film with something for virtually no one.

Granted, Ferrell has exhibited an interest in spoofing some of TV’s more risible conventions, including the wholly mediocre miniseries satire “The Spoils of Babylon.” As a result, many no doubt tuned in expecting something similar, even if the network and filmmakers remained mum about the movie, other than plastering L.A., at least, with billboards for it.

After about 20 minutes, though, it became increasingly clear this was being done without anything approaching an overt arched eyebrow, instead tapping directly into the typical Lifetime “inspired by a true story” niche — in this case, about a wealthy couple in an idyllic lake town being faced with a threat to their hearth and home, “Fatal Attraction” style.

Ferrell’s Robert Benson is a successful author, and his wife, Sarah (Wiig), runs her own organic food business. But they suffered a tragic loss during her pregnancy that left her unable to have more kids. Flash ahead five years, and their daughter (Alyvia Alyn Lind) is turning 6, while the marriage is barely bumping along. Although Robert has been cool to adoption candidates, they almost instantly settle on the pregnant Bridgette (Jessica Lowndes) who is six months along, agreeing to take her in and look after her until she delivers.

To say “Bridgette” is not all she appears should come as a surprise to nobody who has even casually stumbled across Lifetime on a Saturday night. And when the young woman tells Sarah that she longs some day to have “a family like yours,” other than the goofy closing sequence and Ferrell’s ridiculous haircut, that’s about as close to a laugh as anyone is apt to find here.

Written by Andrew Steele (who also worked on “Spoils of Babylon”) and directed by Rachel Lee Goldenberg, “A Deadly Adoption” certainly looks like it would fit right in on Lifetime. Yet other than the unlikely stars and the uncertainty about what the movie was, it’s difficult to see what the network gained from indulging whatever impulse possessed Ferrell and Wiig to dedicate their time to this. (Lowndes, actually, has the showiest role, and generally makes the most of it.)

Charitably, one could argue that there’s a hip-to-be-square quality at work, as well as a sense that churning out something this formulaic is almost like mastering a very specific trade. Clearly, it’s not a case of stretching as an actor, as comics sometimes do when drawn to dramatic roles.

Mostly, the experience is a head-scratcher all around. Because even by the undemanding standards evoked by the traditional image of Lifetime movies, the only deadly thing about this “Adoption” is just how dull it was.

TV Review: 'A Deadly Adoption'

(Movie; Lifetime, Sat. June 20, 8 p.m.)

Production: Filmed in Los Angeles by Mar Vista Entertainment and National Picture Show.

Crew: Executive producers, Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Sharon Bordas, Fernando Szew, Andrew Steele, Jessica Elbaum; producers, Adam Silver, Fritz Manger, Max Osswald; director, Rachel Lee Goldenberg; writer, Steele; camera, Silver; production designer, Celine Diano; editor, Bill Parker; music, MJ Mynarski; casting, Michael Testa. 120 MIN.

Cast: Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, Jessica Lowndes, Alyvia Alyn Lind, Jake Weary, Bryan Safi

More TV

  • Game of Thrones finale

    Six Things We Learned From 'Game of Thrones: The Last Watch' Documentary

    HBO gave fans a long parting look at the making of “Game of Thrones” on Sunday night in a two-hour documentary that focused on the Herculean efforts by the small army craft and technical experts who worked on the mammoth fantasy drama. “Game of Thrones: The Last Watch” introduced viewers to the leaders of the [...]

  • 'Killing Eve' Season 2 Failed Where

    'Killing Eve' Season 2 Stumbled Where 'Barry' Soared (Column)

    SPOILER ALERT: This article contains spoilers for the entire second seasons of “Killing Eve” and “Barry.”  I was dead certain that “Killing Eve” and “Barry” — two of my favorite television debuts of 2018 — should have ended after a single season. Both coincidentally starring unstable assassins, the shows were smart, propulsive, and extremely weird [...]

  • A.P. BIO -- "Melvin" Episode 208

    'AP Bio' Canceled After Two Seasons at NBC

    “AP Bio” has been canceled at NBC. Series creator Mike O’Brien shared the news with fans on Twitter, writing that “This has been my favorite project of my life.” In the single-camera comedy, Glenn Howerton portrayed a disgraced Harvard philosophy scholar who lost out on his dream job and was forced to return to Toledo, [...]

  • James Holzhauer $2 million

    'Jeopardy!' Champion James Holzhauer Hits $2 Million Winnings Milestone

    This current “Jeopardy!” player has just won over $2 million on the popular game show. Who is James Holzhauer? The 34 year old professional sports gambler from Las Vegas has hit a “Jeopardy!” milestone by becoming only the second person in the show’s history to win over $2 million in regular season play. Holzhauer won [...]

  • Kanye West Shares a Memory of

    Kanye West Shares a Touching Memory of His Mother in Letterman Interview

    In a preview of David Letterman’s interview with Kanye West, which begins streaming next Friday, May 31, the musician’s wife Kim Kardashian West, tweeted a clip of him sharing a touching memory of his mother, Donda, who died in 2007 after a surgical procedure. While his wife looks on smiling, West answers Letterman’s question about [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content